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New Music for a Note Worthy Man

  • Mar 30, 2008
If a classical music festival were to try to imagine a person who would likely help forge its destiny and bolster its artistic standards, a square dance-calling, running shoe-inventing, clarinet-playing, cattle ranching, Olympic track coach would not spring immediately to mind. Yet, Bill Bowerman put his energies, reputation, enthusiasm, and wealth squarely behind the Oregon Bach Festival during a critical 20-year period. He not only helped transform the Festival into an internationally known classical music event, he helped save the Festival during its adolescent years. During the 2008 US Olympic Team Trials-Track and Field, the man who left an indelible mark in the worlds of sport and culture will be celebrated in a gala concert featuring a major work commissioned in his honor. The family of Bill's son Jay Bowerman commissioned Rebecca Oswald to compose and requested that the Oregon Bach Festival perform "Man of Oregon." The commissioned piece, a 22-minute work for chamber orchestra, is a symphonic biography of Bowerman (1911-1999), and will be the heart of a July 1 gala tribute in the Hult Center. The program includes:
  • The Sinfonia and opening chorus of J.S. Bach's Easter Oratorio (chosen for the imagery in its text of the "fleet of foot") performed by the Festival Chorus and Orchestra under Artistic Director Helmuth Rilling, who will make his own, personal tribute to Bowerman at the start of the concert
  • Distinguished speakers-those invited include Nike co-founder Phil Knight and UO President Dave Frohnmayer.
  • The Man of Oregon commission, conducted by Philip Brunelle
  • A full screen showing of the Oregon Public Broadcasting "Oregon Experience" profile of Bowerman
  • A rousing choral finale from the Stangeland Family Youth Choral Academy (the Festival's high school honors choir that Nike has partially underwritten for several years) conducted by Anton Armstrong.
Watch the YouTube video preview. The July 1 concert is sponsored by First Tech Credit Union and Oregon Public Broadcasting, and is underwritten by a generous gift from Barbara Cargill. Read more about composer Rebecca Oswald in this March 20, 2008 story in the Register-Guard.